The Belle Epoque cocktail hails from Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans. It first caught our attention because of its utilization of a unique ingredient — ratafia. Ratafia is an infusion of a base spirit (typically brandy) with fruit. Historically, ratafia called on whatever was in season, whether persimmons, blackberries, kumquats, apples or citrus. Fruit was picked and ratafia was made each summer, so that it could be steeped in brandy and then consumed during the holidays.
The traditional method of creating ratafia begins with adding fruit to a stone crock and drowning it with brandy. The crock is then covered with cheese cloth and stored in a cool, dark place. At R’evolution, they let it sit for no less than six months, so it’s no what you’d call an la minute preparation. After it’s ready, simple syrup is added to achieve the desired sweetness level, and the fruit is strained out. All that equals a treat you can drink on its own or add to cocktails. Here, Restaurant R’evolution is pairing its persimmon ratafia with bourbon and sparking wine. Check below for the recipe.
1 oz Evan Williams Single Barrel Bourbon
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1 oz Seasonal Ratafia
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Sparkling Wine
Combine bourbon, lemon juice, ratafia and simple syrup in a shaker. Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass or Champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon peel.